Endurance Exercise for Gainz

Sadly as awesome as it’d be, not everything can be about maximum power. Sometimes you need to focus on what you can do repeatedly instead of just once and continue to do it for long periods of time. Muscular endurance can be on the opposite end of the spectrum from maximum power but is just as important. It refers to the ability for your muscles to consistently and repeatedly exert force over a period of time. Unlike muscular strength movements where you push to generate as much force as possible, endurance exercises are aimed at helping you extend how long you can push, press, lift, squeeze, hold, or run. The two go together, even if you see high schoolers with the broccoli cut or gym bros doing nothing but maxing out every day.

Endurance exercises are perfect for keeping you healthy, active, and provide necessary balance to any fitness regimen.

After all, what good would Mike Tyson’s ridiculously powerful punches have done if he couldn’t repeat them? Or Eliud Kipchoge’s 4.5 min mile pace if he couldn’t repeat it 26.2 times in a row? Endurance is a requirement in everything we do.

How do endurance exercises work?

Endurance exercises, more commonly known as aerobic activities, work by stimulating your cardiovascular system — the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. When you’re engaged in these types of exercises, your body needs more oxygen due to the increased heart rate and the rapid breathing. As a result, your heart beats faster to pump more blood, and your lungs work harder to supply more oxygen to your muscles.

Over time, the regular practice of endurance exercises strengthens your heart and lungs, allowing them to work more efficiently even when you’re not exercising. This increased efficiency helps to enhance your stamina, enabling you to exercise longer before fatigue sets in. Through these exercises you promote overall heart health, support weight management, and improve mental well-being as well as increased nutrient delivery, which allows you to use your muscles longer.


Here’s what endurance exercises can do for you:

  • Strengthen your heart and lungs
  • Increase your energy and stamina
  • Help you burn calories and lose weight
  • Improve your mental health and mood
  • Keep you motivated and having fun!

What Are Endurance Exercises?

Endurance exercises, also known as cardio or aerobic exercises, are all the activities that get your heart rate up and cause you to breathe faster. Think about when you’re doing things like:

  • Running or jogging
  • Cycling or spinning
  • Swimming
  • Jumping rope
  • Dancing
  • Rowing or kayaking
  • Walking lots of stairs

These types of activities require your body to stay powered up for a prolonged period. Unlike resistance training where you generally lift a set of weights for a short period of time via a set number of repetitions before resting and recovering, endurance activities keep your heart rate elevated the entire time.

Endurance Exercises and Your Body

Here’s what happens to various parts of your body when you do these types of exercises.

  • Heart: Endurance exercises put your heart to work. They cause your heart to pump faster for periods of time, which strengthens the cardiac muscles. At rest, a more conditioned, in shape heart pumps more slowly and more powerfully than an unconditioned one. This means more oxygen and nutrients are pushed through your body. More nutrients and oxygen means a ton of benefits, such as higher levels of energy, enhanced exercised recovery, decreased risk of various diseases, and potentially a longer lifespan.
  • Lungs: Your lungs also get in on the action. They start working harder to take in more oxygen, which is why you become short of breath while exercising. Stronger lungs means deeper breathing and it can actually change the way you breath entirely. Stronger lungs are more resilient lungs, enabling you to continue to push yourself harder over time.
  • Muscles: And let’s not forget your muscles! Strong, well exercised muscles have the ability to continue working far longer than their untrained counterparts. This is why marathon runners are able to keep going or boxers are able to continue generating immense amounts of force during a match.
  • Brain: Even your brain gets a boost with these exercises. Endurance workouts can, and do, release feel-good chemicals that make you happier and more relaxed. Less stress and an overall feeling of wellbeing is obviously a fantastic thing.

In short, endurance exercises are great for your overall health and wellbeing. They can positively impact you in multiple ways and across many different parts of your body.

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Why Endurance Matters in Fitness

There is no way around it, despite what a few gym bros, some lower-level trainers, and a lot of media outlets might say today. Endurance exercises are a necessity in not only any fitness regimen, but also in any lifestyle. Simply put, western people are not doing too well physically. Our average lifespans are dropping, overall rates of disease are rising, and people are generally unhappy with the state of things.

Now, can you fix all of those things by running a mile? No. Not at all, and I would never claim they would. However, being able to run a mile can generally help you out quite a bit with your overall lifestyle and quality of life. When it comes to fitness goals, the same can be said. Endurance is more often than not the winning factor for most competitions.

The longer you can dance, swim, cycle, lift, or run, the more easily and quickly you will reach your goals or the better you will be at sportsball.

Real People, Real Results

There’s no better proof of the need for endurance training than seeing how it works in real life. Here are some real-life examples of celebrities who excelled with endurance.

  • Usain Bolt has a lot of awards. He’s also the fastest man in the world, running 23mph on average. That’s faster than quite a few animals, but obviously no human can sustain that speed for miles on end. Regardless, he credits his speed to endurance training. What does that look like? For starters, he combines resistance training for overall strength alongside a lot of speed training. The routines he follows has given him the endurance to bolt past his competition and break records.
  • Serena Williams is arguably one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She has showcased extreme endurance both on and off the court. Her rigorous endurance training allows her to dominate in long, tough matches. While she doesn’t necessarily enjoy long workouts, she focuses a lot of High Intensity training which is a great way to enhance overall endurance.

One thing to note here is that the form of endurance training you do and what works for you is based entirely on your overall goals. Marathon runners generally won’t focus on high intensity exercises while sprinters most likely are not spending an hour on the stairmaster like bodybuilders do in the lead up to a competition.

Top Endurance Exercises According to Me

I suppose you came here looking for a list of some fantastic endurance exercises you can do to boost your performance. Here are seven of my top favorites that can be used by pretty much anyone to make some pretty serious progress regardless of goal.

1. The Running Route

Running. Obviously, running is a great way to boost your endurance. It’s pretty much free (minus footwear). Just lace up your shoes, stretch before you head out, and set a pace that you’re comfortable with. Each time, aim to run a little longer or a little faster to keep improving.

How it helps: Running strengthens your heart, improves lung capacity, and makes your legs stronger, all of which will make taking the stairs not feel as hard.

2. Rowing

I love rowing. It’s a whole-body exercise that gets your going and recruits a ton of different muscle groups in order to row properly. Slightly more expensive than running as you can either use a rowing machine, canoe, or kayak. It’s a lot more intense, though!

How it helps: It keeps your heart pumping and your legs engaged, giving you a bit more endurance each day.

3. Swimming

Swimming is a good one that only requires (obviously) some water and a suit. The extra resistance from the water makes it incredibly impactful and can really tire you out much more quickly than you think. There’s a reason that swimmers are in fantastic shape.

How it helps: Swimming involves your whole body – keeping your heart pumping and muscles working as you push against the water to move.

4. Cycling or Spin

Riding a bike is a great all-around exercise. Whether on a road bike, trail or mountain bike, or a stationary / spin bike at your local gym, pedaling is one of the greatest endurance exercises out there.

How it helps: It strengthens your legs and improves lung capacity. And quickly.

5. Compound Lifts

This one goes to those who love their muscles. Compound lifts are great on their own, but when you do them in specific ways you can really speed that progress along. More reps or less rest between sets are great ways to build up some extra endurance.

How it helps: Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman had some pretty crazy endurance when moving immense amounts of weight. Their muscles could work, repeatedly, to move mountains.

6. Rucking

Ever tried rucking? It’s an awesome entry on this list of endurance exercises! Toss on a weighted bag, usually anywhere between 30 and 50 pounds, and go for a brisk walk. Start with a mile or so and see how long it takes you. Increase the weight or distance if you can get through it quickly.

How it helps: Rucking works your whole body. Plus, it’s a great way to spend time in nature for extra calm and focus.

7. Heavy Bag

The last entry on this list is less an endurance exercise and more a piece of equipment: The heavy bag. You can do so much with it including boxing and kickboxing workouts. Repeatedly striking the bag recruits a lot of muscles, engages the heart and lungs, and reduces stress.

How it helps: Heavy bag workouts exercise your entire arm/pectoral chain, engage your core, and work your legs, plus your lungs and heart. It’s an entire body workout even if you don’t think it would be.

Incorporating Endurance Exercises into Your Routine

Here are some tips for success to incorporate some of these into your everyday routine.

1. Start Small and Gradual

  • Start with an exercise you find fun! Love running? Great, start there!
  • Always begin with a light warm-up before going into your main exercise.
  • Slowly increase your workout duration each week. Start off rowing for 10 minutes? Next week go for 11!

2. Keep Variety in Your Spice Cabinet

  • Explore different workouts. Run today, swim tomorrow, and the next day you’re a hiker.
  • Changing your workout scenery can bring freshness. Park, indoor gym, trail, street, switch it up!

3. Consistency is Key

  • Plan your exercises at the same time each day to develop a routine.
  • Be persistent and don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results. They can take months to appear.

4. Celebrate Your Victories

  • Set small, achievable goals and celebrate when you reach them.
  • No victory is too small! 5 more minutes on the bike? Congrats!

Every Adventure Comes to an End

I’ve gone over everything from what endurance is and why it’s important to the best (in my opinion) endurance exercises you can do. Let’s bring it in for a landing and recap a bit here.

The Power of Endurance

With every step you run, every stroke you swim, and every minute you cycle, you are building up your ability to keep going for extended periods of time or exert enormous amounts of power repeatedly. It makes your heart strong, lungs powerful, and your muscles sturdy and ready for action. More than anything, it makes you feel fantastic and reduces stress.

The Amazing Health Benefits

Endurance exercises help protect you from high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. They help you feel calm, more focused, and even make you happier.

Your Adventure Begins Now!

Easily and safely plunge into endurance exercises:

  • Start small and gradually pick up pace.
  • Mix and match different exercises to add some spark.
  • Be consistent and always, always celebrate your victories.

Hopefully you learned something new and this was a helpful article.

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The only thing you need is some motivation and a willingness to change some old habits.

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